Steamboat Springs soccer player follows in mother’s footsteps, signs with West Virginia Wesleyan
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Devon John’s hands might be doing the signing, but his decision to go to play soccer at West Virginia Wesleyan was in his genes.
The Steamboat Springs High School senior is following in his mother’s footsteps by playing soccer for the Bobcats, an NCAA Div. II program where Linda John played and coached years ago. The school was also where Linda met Devon’s father, Rich, so returning to Buckhannon, West Virginia, seems to be a little like fate for the young Sailor soccer player.
“I played and coached at West Virginia Wesleyan College,” said Linda. “Ever since Dev was a little kid, he wanted to be a Bobcat as well and had in the back of his mind he’d love to play there.”
When the school offered a package and a letter of intent, there was no hesitation in signing it.
“I’ve been wanting to play college soccer,” Devon said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories from my mom hearing that it’s really fun and competitive.”
Devon was introduced early to soccer, with his father, who is from England, and his mom putting a soccer ball in front of his feet as soon as he could hobble along on his own. He soon fell in love with the game.
“I think it’s from my parents. They both introduced me when I first walked,” Devon said. “It’s really fun to play, has a good team dynamic and you have your teammates with you and it feels more like a family.”
The Sailors were unable to play during the typical boys soccer season this fall, but the sport has been moved to this spring, or season C, as designated by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
With no footage from what should have been his normal senior season, Devon scoured his junior season for some good clips to send to coaches and recruiters and filmed a lot of his fall season with the Steamboat Soccer Club. He reached out to a few schools and did what he could to show them he would be an asset on their teams.
Clearly, he convinced West Virginia Wesleyan.
“He has such a solid character,” said Steamboat Springs High School head soccer coach Rob Bohlman. “He’s as trustworthy and reliable as they come. He’s got everything dialed in, is super responsible, hard working. In this challenging time for recruits … you get the sense talking with Devon, over Zoom or over the phone, you instantaneously know and get a feel for the type of person that Devon is.”
Despite the Sailors not having the most successful season with a 4-12 record in Devon’s junior year, he still had the confidence to pursue soccer at the next level. He said he has a strong support system, particularly his coach Hobey Early, who encouraged Devon to chase after the dream of playing in college.
“One thing I think is pretty cool, is you get some kids in this town who have a lot of talent but are just a little nervous and are not sure if they can actually play at the next level just because they’re from a small town or they’re afraid to take a chance,” Bohlman said. “Even though Devon’s got a little bit of those concerns as well, he’s willing to take that chance and see if he can make it happen. It’ll be awesome to see more kids in this town feel comfortable taking that chance.”
While Devon is happy to have secured a spot on a college squad, he knows there’s more work to do.
“There’s definitely more stuff I need to work on,” he said. “But as long as I work hard toward that goal, I think I’ll be ready for college soccer.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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